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The Essex Lectures in Art History 2022 Lecture II: The Lion Hunt and Imperial World-Making in France and Algeria, 1830-1900

The Essex Lectures in Art History with Katie Hornstein

The School of Philosophy and Art History hold the Essex Lectures in Art History each year. The June 2022 lectures are titled 'Myth and Menagerie: Seeing Lions in Nineteenth Century France'

Lecture II: The Lion Hunt and Imperial World-Making in France and Algeria, 1830-1900

The practice of lion hunting in post-1830 Algeria by the French occupying force resulted in the production of a body of imagery that depicted the new terms of the nineteenth-century lion hunt, revised for the era of industrial capitalism, settler colonialism, and technological reproducibility. This talk examines the militarization of the practice of lion hunting in colonial Algeria during the July Monarchy, a period that gave rise to the cult of the celebrity lion hunter, including Jules Gérard, known at the “Killer of Lions,” who was an officer in the Spahis in Algeria. Édouard Manet’s last large-scale painting, Portrait of Pertuiset, Lion Hunter, depicts Manet’s friend, a wealthy arms dealer and inventor of a bullet intended specifically to hunt lions.  The lion hunt’s emergence as a figure of contemporary representation of the colonization of Algeria occurred in the context of the dramatic decline of lion populations in North Africa over the course of the nineteenth century.  By the first decades of the twentieth century, there were no lions left to hunt in Algeria. I propose a direct link between the ecological crisis facing wild lions and their circulation as visual representations and figures of French imperial worldmaking in Algeria.

Each lecture is one hour, followed by a 45-minute Q&A session.

If you would like to join this lecture, either in person or via Zoom, please email spahpg@essex.ac.uk to register.

The Essex Lectures in Art History 2022 Lecture II: The Lion Hunt and Imperial World-Making in France and Algeria, 1830-1900

 

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